The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository
Warning ePrints Soton is experiencing an issue with some file downloads not being available. We are working hard to fix this. Please bear with us.

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and the developing immune system: a narrative review

Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and the developing immune system: a narrative review
Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and the developing immune system: a narrative review
The immune system is complex: it involves many cell types and numerous chemical mediators. An immature immune response increases susceptibility to infection, whilst imbalances amongst immune components leading to loss of tolerance can result in immune-mediated diseases including food allergies. Babies are born with an immature immune response. The immune system develops in early life and breast feeding promotes immune maturation and protects against infections and may protect against allergies. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered to be important components of breast milk. AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA are also present in the membranes of cells of the immune system and act through multiple interacting mechanisms to influence immune function. The effects of AA and of mediators derived from AA are often different from the effects of the n-3 LCPUFAs (i.e., EPA and DHA) and of mediators derived from them. Studies of supplemental n-3 LCPUFAs in pregnant women show some effects on cord blood immune cells and their responses. These studies also demonstrate reduced sensitisation of infants to egg, reduced risk and severity of atopic dermatitis in the first year of life, and reduced persistent wheeze and asthma at ages 3 to 5 years, especially in children of mothers with low habitual intake of n-3 LCPUFAs. Immune markers in preterm and term infants fed formula with AA and DHA were similar to those in infants fed human milk, whereas those in infants fed formula without LCPUFAs were not. Infants who received formula plus LCPUFAs (both AA and DHA) showed a reduced risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness than infants who received standard formula. Studies in which infants received n-3 LCPUFAs report immune differences from controls that suggest better immune maturation and they show lower risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness over the first years of life. Taken together, these findings suggest that LCPUFAs play a role in immune development that is of clinical significance, particularly with regard to allergic sensitisation and allergic manifestations including wheeze and asthma.
Allergy, Asthma, Fish oil, Immunity, Infant, Infection, Inflammation, Lactation, Polyunsaturated fatty acid, Pregnancy
2072-6643
247
Miles, Elizabeth
20332899-ecdb-4214-95bc-922dde36d416
Childs, Caroline
ea17ccc1-2eac-4f67-96c7-a0c4d9dfd9c5
Calder, Philip
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6
Miles, Elizabeth
20332899-ecdb-4214-95bc-922dde36d416
Childs, Caroline
ea17ccc1-2eac-4f67-96c7-a0c4d9dfd9c5
Calder, Philip
1797e54f-378e-4dcb-80a4-3e30018f07a6

Miles, Elizabeth, Childs, Caroline and Calder, Philip (2021) Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) and the developing immune system: a narrative review. Nutrients, 13 (1), 247, [247]. (doi:10.3390/nu13010247).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The immune system is complex: it involves many cell types and numerous chemical mediators. An immature immune response increases susceptibility to infection, whilst imbalances amongst immune components leading to loss of tolerance can result in immune-mediated diseases including food allergies. Babies are born with an immature immune response. The immune system develops in early life and breast feeding promotes immune maturation and protects against infections and may protect against allergies. The long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs) arachidonic acid (AA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are considered to be important components of breast milk. AA, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA are also present in the membranes of cells of the immune system and act through multiple interacting mechanisms to influence immune function. The effects of AA and of mediators derived from AA are often different from the effects of the n-3 LCPUFAs (i.e., EPA and DHA) and of mediators derived from them. Studies of supplemental n-3 LCPUFAs in pregnant women show some effects on cord blood immune cells and their responses. These studies also demonstrate reduced sensitisation of infants to egg, reduced risk and severity of atopic dermatitis in the first year of life, and reduced persistent wheeze and asthma at ages 3 to 5 years, especially in children of mothers with low habitual intake of n-3 LCPUFAs. Immune markers in preterm and term infants fed formula with AA and DHA were similar to those in infants fed human milk, whereas those in infants fed formula without LCPUFAs were not. Infants who received formula plus LCPUFAs (both AA and DHA) showed a reduced risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness than infants who received standard formula. Studies in which infants received n-3 LCPUFAs report immune differences from controls that suggest better immune maturation and they show lower risk of allergic disease and respiratory illness over the first years of life. Taken together, these findings suggest that LCPUFAs play a role in immune development that is of clinical significance, particularly with regard to allergic sensitisation and allergic manifestations including wheeze and asthma.

Text
nutrients-1074143_Revised_Clean - Accepted Manuscript
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (1MB)
Text
Long-Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids - Version of Record
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.
Download (2MB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 13 January 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 January 2021
Keywords: Allergy, Asthma, Fish oil, Immunity, Infant, Infection, Inflammation, Lactation, Polyunsaturated fatty acid, Pregnancy

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 446153
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/446153
ISSN: 2072-6643
PURE UUID: 5f1d834a-5e78-4b6d-9bda-fab8a84f5823
ORCID for Elizabeth Miles: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-8643-0655
ORCID for Caroline Childs: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-6832-224X
ORCID for Philip Calder: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-6038-710X

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 22 Jan 2021 17:30
Last modified: 26 Nov 2021 02:53

Export record

Altmetrics

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×